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University of Iowa News Release

May 18, 2005

UI Hospitals And Clinics To Receive Organ Donation Award

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is among an elite group of U.S. hospitals that will receive a special award tomorrow in recognition of their success in achieving a high rate of organ donation among potential donors.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will award the first Organ Donation Medals of Honor to hospitals achieving organ donation rates of 75 percent or higher in a 12-month period.

To be eligible for the Medal of Honor, hospitals must have at least eight eligible donors in a single, continuous 12-month period occurring between September 2003 and March 2005. To win the award, hospitals and organ procurement organizations (OPOs) must successfully collaborate to convert at least 75 percent of these eligible donors to actual donors. Approximately 160 of the 542 qualifying hospitals merit the inaugural Organ Donation Medals of Honor.

"Our hospital has always had a strong relationship with our OPO, the Iowa Donor Network, and our historically high rate of organ donation demonstrates that," said Sue Witte, a social work specialist in Social Services at UI Hospitals and Clinics. "The Medal of Honor recognizes the strength of our partnership even as we continue to improve our results."

The current organ donation rate at UI Hospitals and Clinics is 81 percent.

The award honors hospitals and OPOs for their exemplary leadership and commitment to organ donors, donor families and the nearly 88,000 patients on the national transplant waiting list. They earned the recognition for the effective relationships they have developed with each other that have generated these life-saving results.

Medal of Honor winners will be recognized on May 19 at a formal dinner that will be the capstone of the first annual Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative National Learning Congress in Pittsburgh, Penn. HHS officials will recognize representatives of the award winning hospitals and OPOs during the ceremony.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,